'Battle of the Sexes' is easier to like than love

'Battle of the Sexes' is easier to like than love

'Battle of the Sexes' is easier to like than love

In 1973, the legendary Battle of the Sexes tennis match pitted Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs-and now that tennis match has inspired a new movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell.

"We wanted to tell the story of the birth of women's professional tennis".

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Despite the issues surrounding her sexuality and their romantic relationship, King reaffirms, "we were very much in it together".

King, and the film itself, recalls how she and her colleagues established a women's tennis circuit as the 70s began, protesting the fact that at the upcoming U.S. Open, the men's victor was going to make 12 times as much money as the female champion. "We started our own organization to give women a place to compete and to be celebrated for their accomplishments, not just for their looks". And at the same time preparing for a highly publicized match with Bobby Riggs. Carell has a good time, and gets off some amusing bits (the best is probably his visit to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, where he announces, "You folks aren't here because you're gamblers, you're here because you're awful gamblers"). "He was relentless in his put-downs". "She had all that on the line", said Faris.

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About Riggs, however, she's nearly kind. He'd won the triple at Wimbledon in the 40s - singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles - and he never got his due because of the war.

And while all of this was going on she was also having an internal battle over her sexuality; these two story lines throw up interesting scenarios in the film, as in her personal life she was the "alpha male" and her husband was submissive but when it came to tennis politics she found it hard to be in control. "I didn't want to go to my friends' houses or hang out with anybody, and nobody really understood". "She was generous with her story that it made it much easier than if she was like, 'Please don't make this movie about me, good night'".

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"Yeah, that's something", says King. "She needed to hear her voice at 29".

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